BGE rate hike OK’d by Public Service Commission -- Gazette.Net


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Household electric bills will increase by an average of $3.33 per month for a typical Baltimore Gas And Electric Co. customer under rate hikes approved by the Maryland Public Service Commission.

Household gas bills from BGE, meanwhile, will go up about $2.70 per month.

Those estimates are based on electricity use of 1,000 kilowatt hours per month and gas use of 52 therms per month, according to the PSC, which granted approval Friday.

The approved increase for distributing electricity is about $80.55 million, roughly 62 percent of the $130 million that BGE requested. The increase for distributing gas is about $32.42 million, roughly 72 percent of the $45 million that BGE requested.

The Office of the People’s Counsel, which represents ratepayer interests in matters before the PSC, argued that the record supported an increase of no more than $36.3 million for electric service and $19.6 million for gas service — less than half what the PSC approved.

The increases took effect Saturday, the day after the PSC issued the order.

The PSC order also directed BGE to work with commission staff to develop reporting requirements for the utility’s plans to replace its gas and electric infrastructure and to deliver a proposal by April 23.

When BGE filed its rate request in July, utility executives said part of the increase was needed for reliability and safety improvements, including replacing 50- to 60-year-old utility poles and miles of gas mains with more durable pipe.

In its order, the PSC said the increase that it granted “allowed ample recovery for reliability and safety spending ...”

Less than a third of a household’s electric bill goes toward the distribution system. Most of the bill pays for the electricity itself, and customers can shop among competing suppliers.

Pepco, second to BGE in the number of electricity customers served in Maryland, is seeking an increase to distribution rates that would add about $7.13 per month to the average household bill.

Pepco also is asking the PSC to authorize a separate charge on customers’ bills from 2014 through 2016 to pay for infrastructure and reliability improvements. That request calls for adding 0.64 percent to a customer’s total bill in 2014, or about 96 cents per month for a typical household. In 2015 and 2016, the extra charge would add 1.13 percent and 1.28 percent, respectively, or about $1.70 and $1.93 per month to a typical household electric bill.

mhyslop@gazette.net